The Diary: Retro games turns city into Arcade-ia

Left to right DJ's Laura Holt and Joanne Storey with Ben Sutcliffe with the 1990's style video game "Asbo Agogo" set in and around Sheffield which will be in Bank Street Art building''14 July 2013'Image � Paul David Drabble'www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk
Left to right DJ's Laura Holt and Joanne Storey with Ben Sutcliffe with the 1990's style video game "Asbo Agogo" set in and around Sheffield which will be in Bank Street Art building''14 July 2013'Image � Paul David Drabble'www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk
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It is an ’80s-style arcade, built in a 21st century age of laptops, iPads and home computer games so realistic you almost begins to believe you really are James Bond rather than a bloke sat at home in his under pants.

But this humble-looking machine – modelled on the communal video games once found in pubs and youth clubs across the land – is something of a world first.

It is, its makers say, the first ever beat-’em-up arcade set around Sheffield’s streets.

Players do battle in Division Street, take down trouble-makers on the tram and confront Vulcan atop the Town Hall after a lightning strike sends him berserk.

Two (real-life) city DJs – Joanne Storey and Laura Holt, collectively known as Asbo Agogo – appear as the game’s heroines. The pair – resplendent in heels and with tattoos on show – can be heard muttering such South Yorkshire phrases as ‘nah den’ when enemies approach or ‘all reight’ when they dispatch them with a high kick.

The game is launched tomorrow at Bank Street Arts and will then be installed at various city venues over the next three months. A home version for laptops will be available to buy from £5.

“Obviously in this day and age, it’s never going to be as popular as Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter,” admits designer Ben Sutcliffe of Base Green. “But that’s not the point. This was about doing something which celebrated where we live and what we love.

“We’re all massive fans of retro arcades and we thought it would be cool to walk into a bar and do battle around places you know – that’s what this is.”

The idea started as an art project but the team of four – 30-year-old Ben along with Sam Skillington, 31, Paul Brand, 34, and Paul Sanderson, 29 – have attracted such interest, they are now looking to do a second game (“probably a western”) for full commercial release. They have set up under the name No Sky Visible.

“This has been done in our spare time,” says Sam, an illustrator of Handsworth. “But we do think there’s scope to develop other retro 2D games. There’s a market.”

And the two stars – DJs Laura, of Hunter’s Bar, and Joanne, of Woodhouse, both 30 – are pretty happy too.

“How does it feel to be in a video game?” ponders Laura. “It’s mental. I love it. I’m hoping Angelina Jolie will star as me in a film version.”

Launch at Bank Street Arts, city centre, tomorrow 6-9pm. See www.facebook.com/asboagogothegameinfo